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NSYSU pairs up with University of St. Thomas to cultivate pre-service teachers

The Institute of Education (IoE) and the International Graduate Program of Education and Human Development (IGPEHD) of NSYSU, together with the School of Education, University of St. Thomas (UST), Minnesota, USA, established an English-taught program – “Learning Design with Technology in International Contexts in Taiwan” (LDTICT). NSYSU invited excellent scholars from UST – Dr. Chientzu Candace Chou and Dr. Debbie Monson to lead their ten pre-service teachers to participate in the program with NSYSU pre-service teachers and international students. Through a series of activities, the universities hope to cultivate professional and technology-literate teachers with an international perspective and bilingual teaching abilities.

Dr. Hsueh-Hua Chuang – Chair of IoE, NSYSU, pointed out that nowadays global mobility has become a matter of survival and competitiveness, and also an important lesson on international competitiveness for young people. International exchange will boost cross-cultural knowledge, language skills and self-cultivation, expand the perspective on education and research, and improve one’s competitiveness in the global labor market. The collaboration with the UST lets the students of both universities learn how to design and deliver a course by observing, discussing, preparing and practicing. This was also a starting point for internationalization of teacher preparation programs in Taiwan. In the future, both parties will sign an MOU.

The curriculum of LDTICT was taught entirely in English and the topics included: technological literacy in education, service learning, experience of cultural diversity in Taiwan and cross-cultural course design. The program was taught jointly by the faculty members of NSYSU and UST, and the students from both universities used this opportunity to interact with each other on linguistic, cultural and academic levels, and to improve their international exchange and cooperation skills. This event provided a future academic cooperation opportunity.

During the program, Professor Shuk-Kwan Leung from IoE, NSYSU, used tools like colored papers, building blocks, non-standard format papers, letter cubes, stickers, scotch tape and even polo shirts to show Taiwanese and US students how to teach geometry, algebra, arithmetic, statistics and other fields of mathematics through hands-on activities. Dr. Chuang and Rohaiba, an international graduate student from the Philippines, shared their English-teaching experience. Rohaiba talked about the experience of teaching international students and teaching English as a second language. Chair Chuang further elaborated on English teaching skills and the English-learning environment in Taiwan, making this a valuable experience for the students.

Taiwanese and US students paid visits to Long-Mu Elementary School and Wun-Fu Elementary School to conduct teaching practice, introducing US-style education, and conduct practical lessons and international exchange with the teachers of the schools. The visits let the educators and students of the collaborating schools experience something different; this exchange let NSYSU pre-service teachers enrich their perspective and grow professionally as future teachers. US students used this opportunity to get to know the environment of Taiwanese elementary schools, study and understand Taiwanese educational culture, featured courses, assist the school teachers, and, through practical participation in the classes, experience cultural differences and learn from each other.

Professor Chientzu Candace Chou thanked NSYSU for the cooperation and for allowing the students of her university to practice teaching, understand how to apply what they have learned in class and what’s more, to gain a deeper understanding of Taiwanese culture and education by letting students of both universities study together. Associate professor Debbie Monson said that she cherished this exchange opportunity with NSYSU. The pre-service teachers of UST visited Taiwan for the first time and experienced real cross-cultural teaching, which was an unforgettable experience for them.
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